The Untold Truth Of Marvel’s Cloak And Dagger


Since their first appearance in a 1982 issue
of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man, the mysterious heroes known as Cloak and Dagger
have captivated Marvel’s true believers. Their unique and complementary powers, along
with an intriguing backstory and a compelling romantic angle, made them fan favorites long
before they hit TV. But while everybody knows about Spider-Man,
fewer know the finer details of this relatively obscure, co-dependent superhero duo. If you’re in the dark, we’ll shine a light
on the untold truth of Cloak and Dagger. D.A.R.E. to be a hero The origin stories for Cloak and Dagger are
among the darker tales in Spider-Man’s corner of Marvel Comics. The first Cloak and Dagger story saw teenage
runaways Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen kidnapped by a mob chemist and experimented on with
synthetic heroin. They weren’t the first runaways to be subjected
to the experiment, but they were the first to survive, finding themselves after their
escape to be blessed and cursed with bizarre powers. Cloak is able to banish people to the “Dark
Dimension” through a portal within his cloak, while Dagger produces shards of solid light
which can be used as weapons. Sealing their partnership, Dagger also uses
her powers to provide Cloak with spiritual sustenance, battling back a constant hunger
for life energy that he feels as an embodiment of darkness. If not for her light, Cloak would need to
sustain himself with other living beings — not an ideal situation. In their first 4-issue series in 1983, the
duo worked together as a team sworn to end the drug trade. With their origin story steeped in dramatic
drug abuse, plus Cloak’s addictive need for Dagger’s light, it’s easy to read the duo
as a Reagan-era metaphor for drug abuse and the war on narcotics. Considering how much opiate use in America
has increased since the time they were introduced, it’s not a plot that’s aged well — to a
modern reader, their original mission mostly just looks quaint. “So yes to your life, and when it comes to
drugs and alcohol, Just say no.” Mantlo’s Marvel Writer Bill Mantlo is one of the quirkier
storytellers in Marvel history, the creator of Cloak, Dagger, and also Rocket Raccoon. He worked on Marvel’s toy tie-in titles like
ROM: Spaceknight and Micronauts before being assigned to write for more popular titles
like The Incredible Hulk and Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man. He conceived Cloak and Dagger as supporting
characters for the Peter Parker series, saying that the duo’s backstory and abilities came
to him fully-formed during a trip to Ellis Island. According to Mantlo’s personal essay on the
characters, the pair embodied the feelings that he felt there: “They came in the night, when all was silent
and my mind was blank. They came completely conceived as to their
powers and attributes, their origin and motivation. They embodied between them all that fear and
misery, hunger and longing that had haunted me on Ellis Island.” The story Mantlo put together after his trip
was his first submission for Spectacular Spider-Man, and it was also, he felt, the best story he’d
ever written. Friendly neighbors of Spider-Man After they escaped from death by overdose,
Cloak and Dagger made it their mission to seek deadly vengeance. They were successful, despite the attempted
interference of the Friendly Neighborhood Wall-Crawler, who generally frowns on the
use of deadly force. While the duo were merciless and single-minded
in this first appearance, yet also young and naïve, qualities the sympathetic Spider-Man
understood all too well, making their turn as a pair of Spider-Man antagonists extremely
brief. “What I’m trying to say is, superhero team-up? Thanks in part to Spidey’s friendship, the
wayward duo soon backed off from their ruthless ways — a little tougher for Cloak, what
with the need to consume living beings and all. With the duo’s introductory arc being successful,
Cloak and Dagger were soon spun off of the pages of Spider-Man to headline a series of
their own. Strange bedfellows Between 1987 and ’88, Cloak and Dagger’s stories
were combined with Doctor Strange’s in the pages of one series, Strange Tales. The combined title was made as an effort to
boost sales for both series, but oddly, Strange Tales didn’t see the young heroes teaming
up with the Sorcerer Supreme. Instead, each issue featured a Cloak and Dagger
story with its own writing and art staff, followed by a Doctor Strange story from its
own separate creative team. Basically, it was two comics in one. Previous Cloak and Dagger stories had been
extremely light on supervillains, mainly using run-of-the-mill drug dealers and street criminals
for its antagonists. But Strange Tales started to flesh out a more
proper rogues’ gallery for the pair, including the demon Nightmare and the powerful magician
Mister Jip. The combo book served its purpose in keeping
both Cloak and Dagger and Doctor Strange above water in popular consciousness. Cloak and Dagger split after issue 18 and
started their own title, while Doctor Strange got his own title after 19 issues, ending
the series. The new mutates A new comic series called The Mutant Misadventures
of Cloak and Dagger debuted in 1988, and its title inadvertently contributed to a debate
that would go on for years. The question of whether Cloak and Dagger are
mutants went back and forth among comic fans for decades, and a proper answer was only
recently offered. The question of whether the experimental drug
that gave the heroes their powers worked by triggering latent mutant abilities was muddled
for years. Mutant Misadventures seemed to clear it up
with its title alone, and it was mentioned more than once in the first issue that it
was indeed latent mutant genes that allowed them to survive the experiment and gave them
their powers. But in a 2010 Cloak and Dagger one-shot, they
submit to extensive DNA testing—and are shocked to discover that neither of them carry
mutant DNA, and that it was the experimental drug and their own suffering that made them
what they are. No matter how you slice it, that’s pretty
potent stuff. The teen angst Achilles heel Cloak and Dagger are a formidable duo, but
if they have one glaring weakness, it’s how vulnerable they are to having their heads
screwed with. As teenage runaways granted awesome powers,
they’re both pretty easily manipulated — but Cloak in particular is kind of a pushover. Powerful beings have a tendency to try to
take control of his power for themselves, with varying degrees of success ranging from
“Dagger has to talk him down” to “super-team should probably intervene.” “Dear Diary, My teen angst b——- has a
body count” Notably, the dream demon Nightmare has targeted
Cloak twice, overwhelming him with darkness and taking him under control. The pair’s emotional instability and codependency
are their biggest weaknesses. They may be tough to overpower in a fight,
but exploiting their teen angst has been an effective strategy for many foes. Born from despair As it turns out, this was no ordinary experimental
drug. It was created with the help of a demonic
being named D’Spayre who feeds on human pain and suffering through a the spread of an insidious,
addictive drug called D-Lite. At the end of their 19-issue 1990 series,
the demon revealed to the duo that he helped create them, imbuing Dagger and Cloak with
the light and dark sides of his own power. Bizarrely, that made them both weaker and
also made them swap their powers. He had intended to use them as sort of misery
batteries, soaking up their pain to feed on at his leisure. His identity and motives are perfectly fitting
for the characters, with their greatest nemesis turning out to be the living embodiment of
their own teenage angst. Why he looks so much like Skeletor, though? Your guess is as good as ours. “haha” Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
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